Asteroids are very small, rocky bodies that orbit the Sun. “Asteroid” means “star-like,” and in a telescope, asteroids look like points of light, just like stars. Asteroids are irregularly shaped because they do not have enough gravity to become round. They are also too small to maintain an atmosphere, and without internal heat they are not geologically active
Collisions with other bodies may break up the asteroid or create craters on its surface.
The Asteroid Belt
Hundreds of thousands of asteroids have been discovered in our solar system. They are still being discovered at a rate of about 5,000 new asteroids per month. The majority of the asteroids are found in between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, in a region called the asteroid belt.
More than 4,500 asteroids cross Earth’s orbit; they are near-Earth asteroids. Between 500 and 1,000 of these are over 1 km in diameter.
Asteroids are small rocky bodies that orbit the Sun and sometimes strike Earth.
Most asteroids reside in the asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter.
Near-earth asteroids are the ones most likely to strike Earth, and scientists are always looking out for a large one that may impact our planet and cause problems.